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May 17, 2000

Venus Williams


Q. Welcome back, Venus. You know, about one month or two months ago I read where an agency told us that you were going to stop playing tennis. It was very scary. It said, "Venus Williams considering an outstanding stop. Her father suggested her to stop in January 2001." One year. So I can see you are back, and I must think that this was totally invented?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don't know. Things always get out of hand. Any small news that is not news becomes news. I'm back. I'm playing all right. This is my second tournament of the year. I'm feeling all right. I was having fun today. That was the most important thing. Even when I was not serving my best or playing my best, I was still having fun. I still have fun playing tennis. This is what I want to do at this point. If I decide this is not good for me, I'll definitely retire.

Q. You're staying with us for the moment?


Q. Did your injuries make it likely that you wouldn't be able to come back?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I don't think so, it just took much longer than what I anticipated. They just kept bothering me; they wouldn't get better no matter what I tried, so I just had to stay out with the fear of reinjuring myself and not being able to play for a longer period of time. Mostly, I'm ready to go play. I kept saying to my dad, "I'm ready, I'm ready." My dad said you can make your own decision, but I suggest you pull out, so I listened and I think it was a good idea. So I'm pain-free now.

Q. It's very early. You've only played three matches since you came back. But how much below what you consider your best are you still at the moment?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I'm really starting to play better now. Starting last week in Hamburg, I was a little iffy. Not that I wasn't -- it was just tough. I was not practicing very much time, and I was -- I just had to learn a tough lesson. And this week we've been practicing hard, playing better, I've been thinking about my tennis off the court. And I feel better. My shots are going a lot better. I think my shot selection is better also.

Q. How tough mentally is it to come back after having a long time out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: For me it's not very tough. I'm not sure for other players, but I watch a lot of tennis. I watch all the tennis on TV. So I was thinking a lot when I was not playing, and it was almost as if I was playing tennis because I was thinking about the things I could do when I came back. So when I came back, I was actually a little bit smarter.

Q. Have you been on a diet? And, if so, why?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I've never been on a diet. Diets don't work.

Q. Are you still studying or did you take a break?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, yeah, I was studying, but I didn't have that many classes because I thought I was going to be playing at the beginning of the year. But I haven't been studying. I'm not studying this quarter or -- I'm going to go back in October, but I don't think full-time because I missed so much at the beginning of the year. So, yeah, I enjoy studying and one day I'll have a degree.

Q. What do you enjoy more studying?

VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I like playing tennis more. Studying is a real job. (Laughter.) And now I understand my job now. (Laughter.)

Q. Venus, you are interested in fashion this year, or your sister?


Q. Because tomorrow we have here a very famous stylist, a good friend of mine, Missoni, one of the best. Would you love to meet him, speak about fashion, do something?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's a great opportunity. As long as I don't have to work, sure.

Q. I'll arrange it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: As long as he doesn't question me.

Q. We'll try to arrange it.

VENUS WILLIAMS: All right. Thanks.

Q. How much did you miss tennis in the six months you were out?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I missed tennis, but I had a lot to do. Every day was packed, and it was like I was the one at home so I did everything. I became the business women. I did things for Serena, things for my mom, things for my dad, things for myself, and everyone's affairs I handled. So they were mine. And for me, I have a lot of things I do outside of tennis, and I missed it. I wanted to get back. I did everything I could to get back when I could, but I had fun. It was me and my dad, watching TV late at night, he said, "Venus, go to bed." "All right," then I'd fall asleep on the couch. This was every night. So when I had to leave, it was strange. No more TV on the couch with daddy, so...

Q. Venus, it seems like you moved much better today than in Hamburg. How and where did you work in between the tournaments?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I thought I was moving okay in Hamburg. I moved more effectively. We've been working on making more shots. We had been working on movement more. It's just a matter of time. I was really off in Hamburg. I was thinking what I wanted to do but I couldn't exactly do it. But here this week I'm doing more of what I want to do. I'm actually executing.

Q. When you listen to the television, you took the voice of the commentator out or you listened to them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I listened to them.

Q. You listened?

VENUS WILLIAMS: What are you talking about?

Q. Because I know them all. So when I watch the television, I take the voice out because I can tell by myself what's happening.

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't know.

Q. You listen?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's strange because there's no applause, there's no -- you don't hear the crowd. It's just very quiet. No, I listen to it.

Q. There is one you like, between the Americans of course?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Serena. Sometimes she commentates.

Q. Yeah?


Q. What news can you bring us of Serena, Venus? How is she?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Last I heard, she had lost her passport. (Laughter.) She was in Miami getting her passport, she was talking to me about three minutes, she said, "They called my number." I haven't heard from her since. So... She has her passport and that means she's coming.

Q. Coming to Paris?


Q. You have the straps on your wrist, how is it?

VENUS WILLIAMS: It's fine. I'm feeling real good. If I wasn't good, I would just be shipped home. Yeah... But I'm feeling all right, and I'm feeling no pain. It's not holding me back from my regular shots.

Q. How much fitness work were you able to do when you were injured?

VENUS WILLIAMS: When I was at home?

Q. Yes.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, my dad, he wanted me to do a lot of fitness work, but I usually found a way to get out of it. He said, "Now, Venus, what time do you want to do the fitness work," I said, "I'll be home at 5 o'clock," and things went wrong and I didn't come home at five. And it's no fun running.

Q. Venus, have you brought a different dress for every day of the week, and do you think you'll get to use them?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I got quite a few, but I start liking a particular dress and I don't want to get out of it. If you request a special color, I could maybe pick it out. (Laughter.)

Q. Red next time?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I can't wear red for the simple reason that last week when I wore red in the second match I didn't win it. So I can wear red in the third match.

Q. How about blue?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I'm sorry. Blue was last season. (Laughter.) Say yellow.

Q. Yellow?

VENUS WILLIAMS: Okay, yellow. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts….

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